Exploring the Arsenal will run prior to each game, providing you with a brief scouting report on the starting pitcher expected to oppose the Pirates. The chart below shows the horizontal and vertical movement of every pitch thrown by that particular pitcher in 2012. This chart is from the catcher’s point of view. Click here for a general guide to pitch types and classifications. Graphs are courtesy of Brooks Baseball and The Hardball Times , unless otherwise specified. Statistics are courtesy of FanGraphs .
Friday, 7:05 PM – Ricky Nolasco
Over the past two years, Nolasco has seen an alarming decline in his strikeout rate. In 2008-2010, he struck out 22.8% of all opposing hitters, a well above average rate. That number fell all the way to 16.6% last season and has dipped even further in 2012. His four-seam fastball sits around 89-91 MPH and touches 93, down a few ticks from a couple of years ago. His two-seamer comes in at a similar velocity with good arm-side run. In lieu of a traditional changeup, Nolasco throws a 79-82 MPH splitter. He mostly uses the pitch against left-handed batters, doing a pretty good job of locating it down and away. His best offering is a sharp 82-84 MPH slider. It is the only pitch he can miss bats with on a regular basis, although even it has been somewhat hittable this season. Nolasco also throws a curve around 73-76 MPH. Overall, Nolasco has become much more hittable the past few years, and there are very few indications that he will figure things out anytime soon.